Agriculture

Do food miles make a difference to global warming?
October 17, 2007 09:41 AM - Deborah Zabarenko -Reuters

The U.S. local food movement -- which used to be elite, expensive and mostly coastal -- has gone mainstream, with a boost from environmentalists who reckon that eating what grows nearby cuts down on global warming.

But do food miles -- the distance edibles travel from farm to plate -- give an accurate gauge of environmental impact, especially where greenhouse gas emissions are concerned?

India 'Lagging Behind' in Innovation Race
October 16, 2007 06:47 PM - T. V. Padma, SciDevNet

NEW DELHI - India is not realising its potential for innovation, warn experts, because its education and research institutes do not encourage a culture of experimentation and the exchange of ideas between disciplines.

Although India's potential is high, it is not nurturing innovation, Sri Krishna Joshi, scientist emeritus at India's National Physical Laboratory, told delegates at a conference on inventions and innovations in Delhi, India today (15 October).

India's education system "kills any spirit of innovation" by failing to close the gap between industry and academia, said S. Srinavasa Murthy, professor of electrical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi.

Invasive Oriental Beetle Shows Up In Midwest US
October 16, 2007 04:23 PM -

Purdue, Indiana - Indiana could be under attack by another invasive species very soon, said a Purdue University expert.

Entomologist Doug Richmond said the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed an oriental beetle found in Tippecanoe County is the first in the state. One of our graduate students saw a beetle he didn't recognize, so he brought it into the lab and identified it as oriental beetle," Richmond said. The oriental beetle is an invasive species native to Japan that arrived in the United States in the 1920s. The larvae feed on roots of turf grasses, perennial plants, weeds, nursery stock and potted plants. Adults feed on the petals of flowers, including daisies, phlox and petunias.

China launches Effort To Green Inner Mongolian Desert
October 16, 2007 04:00 PM -

Bejing, China - Beijing and Seoul recently signed an agreement to launch a joint program to harness China's eighth-largest desert - the Ulan Buh in North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

About 15 million yuan (1.99 million U.S. dollars) will be spent growing trees and building greenhouses to prevent environmental deterioration in the Ulan Buh region, according to officials involved in the project.

Brazil urges Africa to join "biofuel revolution"
October 16, 2007 08:30 AM - Christian Tsoumou -Reuters

Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has called on Africa to join the "biofuel revolution," saying it would help strengthen the world's poorest economies and fight global warming.

Speaking during an African tour, Lula said Brazil's experience with biofuels showed the environmental and economic benefits of mass producing ethanol and bio-diesel.

Scientists ramp up ability of poplar plants to disarm toxic pollutants
October 16, 2007 08:21 AM - University of Washington

Scientists since the early '90s have seen the potential for cleaning up contaminated sites by growing plants able to take up nasty groundwater pollutants through their roots. Then the plants break certain kinds of pollutants into harmless byproducts that the plants either incorporate into their roots, stems and leaves or release into the air.

Researchers Genetically Alter Plants Hoping They'll Vacuum Up Toxins
October 15, 2007 10:41 PM - Julie Steenhuysen, Reuters

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Scientists hope they've figured out a way to trick plants into doing the dirty work of environmental cleanup, U.S. and British researchers said on Monday.

"Our work is in the beginning stages, but it holds great promise," said Sharon Doty, an assistant professor of forest resources at the University of Washington, whose study appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In work they describe as preliminary, researchers at the University of Washington say they've genetically altered poplar trees to pull toxins out of contaminated ground water, perhaps offering a cost-effective way of cleaning up environmental pollutants.

Biofueling water problems
October 15, 2007 03:19 PM - Environmental Science and Technology

A new report from the U.S. National Research Council raises questions about the effects that homegrown fuels could have on water quality.

Schwarzenegger Vetoes Industrial Hemp Bill In California
October 15, 2007 08:04 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

SACRAMENTO, CA ­ Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed AB 684, The California Industrial Hemp Farming Act, yesterday evening, rejecting the will of the vast majority of Californians who supported the legislation. The landmark, bi-partisan legislation would have followed North Dakota in establishing guidelines for the farming of industrial hemp which is used in a wide variety of everyday consumer products, including food, body care, clothing, paper, and auto parts.

Illinois firm recalls beef patties on E.coli scare
October 14, 2007 09:21 PM -

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - J&B Meats Corp. is recalling 173,554 pounds (78.7 tonnes) of frozen ground beef products sold under "Topps" and "Sam's Choice" labels due to possible E. coli contamination, the U.S. government said this weekend.

The Coal Valley, Illinois-based company produced the patties in June and distributed them to retail stores nationwide, the U.S. Agriculture Department's Food Safety and Inspection Service, or FSIS, said in a statement.

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